Author: Jennifer DeCuir
Narrator: Gabrielle de Cuir
Length: 6h 55m
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Tragedy tore Wynter and Sam apart before he could tell her how he felt about her. Twelve years later, fate dropped her off on his doorstep, widowed, desperately broke, and very pregnant. Sam has spent his entire adult life trying to forget Wynter, and here she was, ready to collect on a promise he’d made when he was young and in love. His sense of honor dictated that he take her in when she needed him most. It was only temporary, after all. But living under the same roof quickly led to old feelings resurfacing. Now the one person he’d wanted to leave behind is the one person he can’t let go. She knew seeing her reminded Sam of everything he’d lost, but Wynter had no choice. If she were going to make it back to Scallop Shores to raise her baby, she needed his help. Only she hadn’t counted on the long winter nights, getting reacquainted with a childhood friend she’d loved like a brother, a friend who’d grown into a man she found herself wanting to get to know on a whole different level. Delivering Wynter’s baby at home during a fierce snow storm forces Sam to fill in as temporary dad. It’s a role he’d gladly make permanent. Too bad the one place Wynter is determined to raise her daughter is the one place Sam swore he’d never step foot in again. Had he gotten a second chance to tell her he loved her only to lose her again? Or is this time for keeps?
Gabrielle has narrated over 150 titles specializing in fantasy, humor, and audiobooks requiring extensive foreign language and accent skills. Her “velvet touch” as an actors’ director has earned her a special place in the audiobook world as the foremost choice for authors and celebrities. She grew up in London and Rome with her wildly cinematic Oscar-winning father. She is the creator of two successful Kickstarter campaigns for audiobooks this past year. For the past 3 years running, she has had finalists in the Audie EXCELLENCE IN PRODUCTION category. She is co-founder of Audie, Grammy and Hugo winning Skyboat Media located in L.A.
Q&A with Jennifer DeCuir
- Tell us about the process of turning your book into an audiobook. At the time, my publisher wasn’t doing anything with our audio rights. So in order to work with Skyboat Media, I had to request my audio rights back. It was quick and painless.
- How did you select your narrator? Hmm, there may have been a bit (okay, a lot!) of nepotism involved. Gabrielle is my aunt-in-law. Is that a thing? Sure it is.
- Were there any real life inspirations behind your writing? Not at all. In fact, I remember having a funny phone conversation with a friend on how best to kill off Sam’s parents. One of my kids walked in during the conversation...and backed out of the room. Mommy’s just doing a little brainstorming… ;)
- How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for writing? I make time for me. Whether it’s a massage or a trip to the local nursery to commune with the flowers. Something that brings me peace and lowers my blood pressure.
- Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you? On occasion. Mostly in the car. I have listened to some amazing lectures while being stuck in traffic. And road trips are a lot more fun with classics like The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings.
- Is there a particular part of this story that you feel is more resonating in the audiobook performance than in the book format? I think Gabrielle did an amazing job with Wynter’s labor scene. Voice inflection can do so much more to ramp up tension than words alone.
- If you had the power to time travel, would you use it? If yes, when and where would you go? Oooh, I would love to explore ancient Greece (until it was time for a potty break) and I am really drawn to the WWII era (if I could guarantee that I’d remain safe).
- If this title were being made into a TV series or movie, who would you cast to play the primary roles? Bryce Howard for Wynter and a younger Eric Bana for Sam. And Riley was always Channing Tatum.
- How did you celebrate after finishing this novel? Took the family to Disney World.
- What gets you out of a writing slump? What about a reading slump? Getting out of the house, usually a long ride. The ideas love to come when I can’t write them down.
- In your opinion, what are the pros and cons of writing a stand-alone novel vs. writing a series? Pros would be that they don’t have to be read in a particular order. Cons are that connected books seem to be more rewarding to a reader.
- Have any of your characters ever appeared in your dreams? All. The. Time.
- What's your favorite:
- Food - chocolate!
- Song - Concerning Hobbits
- Book - yup… The Hobbit (it’s in Wynter’s Journey too!)
- Television show - Game of Thrones
- Movie - Anything by Peter Jackson
- Sports team - Go Hawks! Seahawks
- City - San Diego (really miss living there)
- Are any of those things referenced in appearance in your work? Ha! See the book answer. (I should have looked ahead.) And probably chocolate.
- What bits of advice would you give to aspiring authors? Write for YOU first. If you don’t enjoy your book, no one else will. Read voraciously. Nothing refills the creative well for me like reading someone else’s books.
- What’s next for you? I’ve started a new series on an island in the Puget Sound. Still small town, but on the opposite coast.
Q&A with Gabrielle de Cuir
- When did you know you wanted to be an audiobook narrator? My first narration gig was reading endings of cassette sides (“ Please turn over the cassette.”) From the very first moment I was behind that microphone I knew this was the most wonderful, intimate form of story-telling! I fell in love.
- How did you wind up narrating audiobooks? Was it always your goal or was it something you stumbled into by chance? I had a strong background in theatre ad film. I began by being an abridger of audiobooks, then moved to directing and producing, and narrating just came along with the territory.
- A lot of narrators seem to have a background in theatre. Is that something you think is essential to a successful narration career? Well, it definitely helps. Why? Because theatre actors have a stronger sense of story arc. Audiobook narration is like no other form of acting. It is the most taxing and demanding since only the voice is involved and as narrator, you are responsible for the entire story. Short of a one-person play, I can’t think of anything more challenging.
- How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for narrating? Emotionally and creatively, I never burn-out on my passion of the writing. Dear Lord, what greater gift can I have than an author entrusting his/her work to me to midwife into audio existence? Physically, yes. Frequent breaks and stretches, gallons of water and a good night’s sleep are all crucial to a successful recording day.
- Are you an audiobook listener? Nope, I don’ listen for pleasure. I listen constantly during post production for creative choices in my own work and others when I am directing. But for pleasure I go to the visual: graphic novels and movies.
- What are your favorite and least favorite parts of narrating an audiobook? The beginning page and the last page of a good book.
- What would you say are your strongest narration abilities? First person narratives because I seem to cozy to the inner-life of a character. Also, anything extremely challenging in the accent department, or literary difficulty. The more complex, the better for me.
- What about this title compelled you to audition as narrator? Jennifer’s writing in Wynter’s Journey is so smart and crisp and refreshingly witty, I couldn’t resist. It has a very sexy Frank Capra-esqueness about it that reminded me of those wonderful Howard Hawks’ films of the Golden Age of black and white comedies. The dialogue and situations are really fun, and very strongly character based. Her people are real people. I love that.
- How closely do you prefer to work with authors? I am open and grateful for help with pronunciations before recording begins. Also, any general notes on tone that are not evident in the writing. The writing, though, should provide me with all I need. Once I start the process, I need the author to sit back and relax, and hopefully enjoy the outcome.
- How did you decide how each character should sound in this title? I always “cast” all my characters. By that I mean, first I make certain I know their attitude, not the color of their eyes, or the shape of their nose, but their attitude. This is audio. Second, I “cast” them either from real life (my Egyptian dentist) or from particular actors in particular roles (Harrison Ford in Indiana Jones) or from famous literary characters (usually Dickens, Uriah Heep, Jane Eyre.) Doing this allows me to swiftly nail that character each time; especially helpful if the characters been gone for 10 chapters and reappears. Also, very helpful when narrating a series a year later, and I want to come back to the same voices.
- Has anyone ever recognized you from your voice? Yes! Yes! Yes! And what a thrill. I have been recognized as the voice of Valentine in Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game series. Also, from the story podcasts I do monthly for Lightspeed Magazine. I also recently was identified for my Mancunian narration of Jonathan L. Howard’s GOON SQUAD. They thought I was Brit. That was very satisfying!
- Do you read reviews for your audiobooks? Well, sometimes at 2 in the morning when I haven’t had a gig in a while, I will drift gingerly to Audible and read some of the comments. It’s always disastrous to the frail actor’s ego! So, no, I try not to. But when Audiofile Magazine gives me an Earphones Award, yes, I do read those. How fickle we performers are, no?
- If you could narrate one book from your youth what would it be and why? MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS by Agatha Christie. A summer house we rented when I was nine had a dozen of her paperback Penguin novels. I devoured them. And although I would never, ever be chosen as a narrator of her works, I love her writing. The accents and characters in MURDER are spectacularly diverse and it would be heaven.
- What’s next for you? Launching a PATREON page and gathering more audiobook fans and creators into a community forum to produce more wonderful audiobooks! I’ve done two successful Kickstarters for audiobooks, but I feel the need to reach out for ongoing involvement and I think Patreon might be the answer. Or a partial answer, anyway!
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